Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mulch!

My wonderful husband borrowed a dump truck and we now have 4 yards of hardwood mulch in the driveway waiting to be applied, mostly to the flower beds and around trees. He is such a doll! Tomorrow is another gardening day!

I have noticed that my arthritis doesn't bother me while I am in the garden, only after I leave. Is this a sign from above that I should stay in the garden longer?

Never done in the garden

DH and I got our farming done this week while on vacation at the farm. We planted 2 long, long rows of pumpkins. This year I planted jack-o-lantern size, not pie pumpkin size. I also planted some of the "white" pumpkins. Next to the pumpkins are 8 rows of green and purple snap bush beans, since we had so much good luck with them last year. Planted 2 rows of Indian corn and way across the field he planted 10 rows of popcorn. I planted a row or two of lettuce in the shade, and planted about 10 tomatoes and 8 pepper plants, as well as a packet of cilantro seeds.

We still have sweet corn to plant there, but didn't have a separate patch plowed up for it, and since the Indian corn and the popcorn are in this patch, can't plant sweet corn near it without losing the sweetness of the sweet corn due to cross-pollination.


Spent the entire day outside yesterday back in Ohio potting up flowers for the patio and for the cemetery. (I missed Memorial day deadline this year, but at least I finally got it done. )

I put lilyturf in the pots instead of the standard spike. Lilyturf is usually used for a ground cover, which must mean it spreads. It flowers in the late summer. I put in the usual geraniums, and a few snapdragons. Snapdragons were my grandpa's favorite flower. I also added some cute little dahlias to some of the pots, some salvia, some nicotiniana, and some coleus. I used a variegated ivy in a few pots for a trailer.
After I finished with the pots and at the cemetary, I started weeding the vegetable garden here. I NEED SOME MULCH!! The hairy galinsogas are sprouting, and I am seeing creeping Charlie creeping in. I cut some rhubarb to use the huge leaves as much in the lettuce. I spent a few hours hoeing, then planted some herbs.

I bought a new book on companion planting, Great Garden Companions by Sally Jean Cunningham, at Schuler bookstore in Grand Rapids, and read through it on the ride back from Michigan. She suggests "mixing it up" and intensively planting in the garden, mixing herbs, flowers and vegetables all throughout the garden to provide a "living mulch", shading out the weeds, and to provide flowering plants to attract beneficial insects.

So, yesterday I planted nasturtium seeds next to the cucumbers (they're up!) and fennel near the zucchini, and thyme in the cabbage. Luckily, I already had chives planted, and volunteer dill is sprouting among the lettuce. I won't tear it out. We'll see how it all works together.
Today I finally filled up my hummingbird feeder. I've been noticing the little birds flitting around for a week or so, but I know with all the flowers in bloom right now and the neighbor's feeders, they're not really going hungry. I just like to entice them out to my back patio so that I can enjoy their beautiful colors. Notice the red "dam" on my feeder - it is the best $3.00 I ever spent. It is just a piece of plastic, which I fill with water. This keeps the ants from getting to the hummingbird feeder, they would have to cross the open water, where they would drown. Before I installed this the mess from the ants made it a yucky job to clean and fill the feeder.
One more day of vacation, then it's back to work.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Not done yet

OK , still not done. This morning I was in the garden by 6:00 am; and planted four varieties of squash, green zucchini, gold zucchini, delicata squash, and another zucchini.

I got four rows of sweet corn planted, but didn't get the cucumber trellis built.

Tomorrow we are leaving for Kent City, got to get the cucumbers planted in the a.m.

Church is at DH's Catholic mass tomorow at 7:00 which means breakfast in Crestline.

One of the things I love about living in this area is that the waitress at the restaurant where we have breakfast on alternate Sundays was in my high school Spanish class. I've known her about forever. The restaurant has a picture of my father's football team hanging on the wall. When we come in, she brings over coffee, orange juice, tomato juice, and chocolate milk before we even order. She always greets us by name. My uncle always sits at the next table, sometimes my cousin is also there.. It seems like home.

The owner of the local garden center was in my high school class, and one of my "circle". I didn't realize this until recently when I presented as a vendor at the "herb day" and found out that he had married the daughter of the greenhouse owner (who was his high school sweetheart - I knew her, but didn't know her parents owned the garden center).

It is so comforting to feel part of the local community. I've been divorced from some of this for a long time - when my kids left the local school system to move to Michigan it seemed like tearing up roots -- we were transplanted and suffered "transplant shock" just as you would if torn away from your roots. Surprisingly, when we moved back home, we weren't welcomed back, but almost treated as strangers again...another transplant shock.

Oh well.

Another thing I love about living here is the ability to attend country auctions on almost any day of the week. Tonight, after my daughter's graduation ceremony, we attended the Saturday night auction outside of Johnsville. We picked up the proceeds of my MIL's auction, and I spent $20 and got lots of "stuff"-- One way to be green and recycle is to buy "gently used" at the auction. We also bought local farm-fresh eggs and Amish home-churned butter...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tomorrow's another day

Needless to say, I was overambitious this morning. I did plant two rows of beans, a row of peppers, and two rows of mixed broccoli, cauliflower, chinese cabbage, and kale. I filled in some baby lettuce plants between the ones that are about 4 inches high, and hoed out around the lettuce plants. Noticed a lot of the bane of my garden, hairy galinsoga (see 2006 post from July 11 - right now they are tiny, but in July......)

I picked up a lot of rocks and put them in a bucket. Where do they come from? I swear I got all the rocks out last year! I sprayed Roundup all around the outside of the garden where the deer fence meets the yard - I'm not pulling grass out by hand, and it's too close to the fence to be able to mow it.

I tilled the area for the sweet corn, then went to get my seed and found that I had neglected to order sweet corn! I had Indian corn and popcorn, but no sweet corn. So ran back to the local greenhouse to get some corn seed. I bought 1/2 pound of Illini X-tra sweet for the farm at Kent City, and a couple of early varieties for here. Probably you are supposed to separate them by more than 4 feet, but oh well....

By this time I was starting to run on empty, but DH, bless his heart, had fixed the chipper we bought from a friend of his last week and was running it on the branches that were in the compost pile. I helped for about an hour then I hit the wall. Came in to take a shower, cook dinner, and have a glass of wine... I am definitely winding down.

Tomorrow morning I will go out and plant corn, zucchini, and cucumbers - before 11:00! So that we can get ready for graduation.

Heading out to the garden

I picked lettuce leaves for our salad last night for dinner. So wonderful to have FRESH food available.

You can almost see the row of lettuce plants across my garden through the deer fence I installed last weekend. If this doesn't keep them out, I am going to give up gardening!


Last night my daughter and grandson helped me plant a row of beets and put a few tomatoes in the ground. Today I plan to plant some beans from seed, some cabbage plants I picked up at the nursery, and another row of lettuce from the flat in my driveway. I'm going to try and get the zucchini, cucumbers and corn planted today too. I've got a flat of tiny marigold plants to put around the edges to keep out six-footed pests, too. If there's time left over I will put in the flat of impatiens I picked up last night on the way home from work.

Hopefully I won't be too wiped out to attend my daughter's college graduation ceremony tomorrow!


I love being in the garden in the morning. The irises have started blooming, they are so beautiful in the early morning sunshine!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Buy American




American automakers are producers just like American farmers. Gross National Product depends on production. We need manufacturers just like we need farmers.




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